bezoars

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A bezoar is a mass of swallowed foreign material within the stomach. The material may be hair - a trichobezoar - vegetable elements such as leaves - a phytobezoar, or other unusual items. They are usually ingested by psychiatrically disturbed patients or are a result of delayed gastric emptying, for example after gastric surgery.

The mass of material may fill the whole of the stomach. This results in the symptoms of obstruction and ulceration with subsequent disrupted nutrition and loss of weight.

Treatment is ideally removal of the bezoar endoscopically, but laparotomy and gastrotomy may be required. Phytobezoars have been treated with oral cellulase enzyme, such as 75 mg in solution with food.

Last reviewed 01/2018

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